Support Services are those departments which support the daily functioning of the treatment programs or enhance the experience and learning of program participants.
St. Norbert Adult Education Centre
The St. Norbert Adult Education Centre (SNAEC) is operated by Manitoba Institute of trades and Technology (MITT) in partnership with the Behavioural Health Foundation. SNAEC offers adults 19 years of age and older the opportunity to complete a Grade 12 Mature Student Diploma or to upgrade high school courses in preparation for post-secondary education. The student body is a mix of BHF residents and adults from the surrounding communities. SNAEC recognizes the importance of adult education and the positive impact it has on individuals, families, and communities.
BHF K-6 School
BHF’s on-site Kindergarten – Grade Six program operates through Manitoba Education and Training as an independent school with one certified Teacher/ Principal and two Education Assistants. Programming focuses on responding to students’ individual needs and strengths, while following Manitoba curriculum guidelines. A unique strength of this program is the opportunity to integrate children’s school experiences into wholistic planning for families. This includes access to on-site Indigenous Services, a collaborative relationship with BHF daycare staff, and an empathetic connection between classroom staff and parents.
On-site licensed childcare is a unique support for families dealing with substance use and co-occurring mental health issues. Early Childhood Educators and Childcare Assistants work with parents and the therapeutic community as a whole to provide a safe, stimulating and developmentally appropriate play environment and to foster a positive sense of family and cultural identity. The Daycare Director provide a variety of parenting education workshops for parents whose children are in residence with them and for those hoping to reunify in the future. BHF Daycare is licensed for four infants, eight preschoolers and twelve school aged children.
Employment readiness is an integral component of wholistic substance use treatment. Most adults who come to BHF are unemployed at entry and face numerous challenges in gaining employment. Barriers include interrupted or incomplete education, poor or nonexistent employment histories, lack of role models, repeated experiences of systemic discrimination, and diminished self-confidence. Some barriers are specific – lack of ID, lack of bank account/ dependency on pay day lenders, ineligibility for federal benefits due to not filing income tax declarations, inability to pay for a bus pass, work boots or other necessary items.
BHF is fortunate to be able to network with other agencies and programs in addressing barriers to employment and financial stability. Throughout the fiscal year, many birth certificate applications (for treatment program members and their children) were completed with the Employment Development Counsellor’s assistance and funding through SEED Winnipeg’s Access to ID program. BHF continued as a referral site for the Assiniboine Credit Union’s Financial Access Program, helping adults in treatment to set up bank accounts. As a Canada Revenue Agency Community Voluntary Income Tax Program (CVITP) site, BHF was also able to help program members in filing tax returns, which in turn allows them to apply for federal benefits.
BHF’s Employment Development Program helps members in preparing to enter or re-enter the paid work force at whatever point makes sense in their individual treatment plan. They identified transferable skills, prepared resumes, discussed job search strategies, and learned about employment rights and responsibilities. Thirty-eight individuals obtained employment while still living in the therapeutic community.